Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Recipe: Meatballs for your Spaghetti (gluten free)

Meatballs immersed in some Outstanding Marinara Sauce
Meatballs are on the defensive here in America.

First off, meatballs are made of meat. This leaves them vulnerable to attack from those who would seek to lower our cholesterol, reduce our saturated fat, and keep more fluffy creatures roaming the earth.

Second, meatballs require a bit of forethought and preparation. This is a tough proposition in today's TV-dinner culture. Far simpler to add ground beef to pasta sauce.

Finally, meatballs still suffer from the ignominy inflicted by the 1979 film Meatballs, starring Bill Murray.

I believe strongly that serving a good meatball to your guest is a statement about your character. Perhaps more importantly, it speaks loudly about the value on your relationship with that person. Nothing says "You're one of my favorite people on earth!" like a good meatball.

If you're concerned about red meat's health effects (as I am), I suggest you use bison, grass-fed beef, or ground turkey.

If you're concerned about the extra forethought and preparation involved in making meatballs, I suggest you hang up the cell phone, log out of Facebook, and slow it down for an extra half-hour.

If you haven't seen Meatballs, consider yourself lucky.

Those of you who read this blog often know that I'm always harping on you to taste your food as you're cooking it...

"Season to taste."

"Taste before serving."

"Taste that food before you inflict it on your guests!"

...and so on.

In this case, you've got a big bowl of raw meat and eggs. Better to measure those seasonings and stick to the recipe.

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground bison, beef, or turkey
  • 3/4 cup gluten free bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • dash of onion powder
  • dash of garlic powder
  • dash of truffle oil (if you have it)
I make my gluten free bread crumbs from two slices of Udi's gluten free sandwich bread, toasted, cooled, and then pulverized in a food processor.

Once you've got your bread crumbs, mix all of the ingredients together with your hands. To avoid bruising the meat (which makes it less tender), try not to over-mix or squeeze too hard. But be sure to get everything thoroughly combined.

Make meatballs with your hands. I usually make meatballs that are about 2 1/2-inches in diameter.

Heat a medium cast iron skillet on medium-low heat, and add a thin coating of oil. Once the skillet is hot (after 5 minutes or so), gently lay in the meatballs to begin frying.

Fry the meatballs for about 15 minutes, turning them every 1-2 minutes to avoid burning. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to gauge doneness. Meatballs should hit 145 degrees F when they are done.

Add your meatballs to an outstanding marinara sauce, and serve over pasta immediately. You can also freeze these meatballs in a Ziploc for later use.


  1. Agreed! I always set aside a sample for myself to make sure what I'm making is in fact, delicious. And the meatballs in this blog are is what's planned for tonight!

  2. Hey jenash,

    No substitute for tasting it, for sure. Let me know how the meatballs turned out!


  3. Do you recommend pre-seasoned cast iron cookware?

  4. Hey Wendy,

    I'd REALLY like to know what Lodge puts in their pre-seasoning... but I find that these days it is difficult to get cast iron that isn't pre-seasoned. So yeah, that's what I typically buy. If I was really hard core, I'd burn the pre-seasoning off... and apply my own with organic canola. But I'm not that hard core!

    Hope that helps.


  5. Wow! I really enjoyed this recipe. And the sauce was amazing! I had to come back here to get the recipe again, because I have a craving for really great spaghetti and meatballs tonight. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Ellen,

      Glad you liked it! I do love this recipe. As things start to cool down in Colorado this time of year, I'm going to have to break this one out again soon!

      Thanks for stopping by.


  6. I followed this recipe last night and my kids, (20 & 16), loved them. My son (the 20 yr old) in particular (a very finicky eater), really like these meatballs.This recipe is a keeper and going on the weekly menu as a regular. :0)

    1. Hey Joseph,

      Glad your kids enjoyed it! And thanks for sharing.



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